A Deadly Secret
A Deadly Secret (连城诀) is a Wuxia novel by Louis Cha (aka Jin Yong). It is alternately translated as Requiem of Ling Sing. It was first published in the Southeast Asia Weekly (东南亚周刊) and Ming Pao in 1963. The story revolves around Di Yun (狄云), a down-to-earth young martial artist who is imprisoned after being framed. In his quest for revenge, he accidentally acquires the "Lian Cheng Swordplay" , an ancient artifact not only prized for its martial arts values, but also for containing a secret that has become the envy of the Wulin.
The perpetrators are his teacher's fellow disciple brothers Wan Zhenshan and Yan Daping. They desire Mei's secret manual. Di's teacher Qi Zhangfa disappears mysteriously when Di needs him the most. Wan's son Wan Gui bribes the magistrate to hand a heavy sentence to Di Yun to exaggerate the seriousness of the "crimes", while hypocritically playing the role of a good person, by pretending to help Di Yun, in order to win Qi Fang's heart. Qi Fang believes that Di is truly guilty and becomes disappointed with him. She gives up on Di eventually and marries Wan Gui.
Di Yun suffers in prison and is constantly harassed by Ding Dian, a fellow inmate who accuses him of being a spy. However, after Di Yun attempts suicide, Ding is finally convinced that Di is not a spy and they develop a close relationship instead. Ding Dian reveals to Di Yun that he has obtained a martial arts manual called "Lian Cheng Swordplay" Manual from Mei Niansheng and has since become the target of several pugilists who are after the manual. Ding Dian also teaches Di Yun a powerful inner energy skill which later proves to be a blessing for Di Yun. Di Yun hears the dirty secrets of his highly revered teacher Qi Zhangfa and the perpetrators Wan Zhenshan and Yan Daping, of how they murdered their teacher Mei Niansheng to seize possession of the manual.
Di Yun and Ding Dian manage to escape from prison. Ding is poisoned and killed by the landlord Ling Tuisi. Di Yun returns to Qi Fang's house and sees that Qi Fang has conceived a daughter, Kong Xincai, with Wan Gui. He is depressed and emotionally hurt and leaves the house. Di Yun soon arrives at a temple, where he encounters an evil monk from the Blood Saber Sect of Tibet named Bao Xiang. Di outwits Bao Xiang and kills him. He disguises himself by donning Bao Xiang's robes and is mistaken by the Blood Saber Sect's leader Xuedao Laozu as a grand-disciple. Xuedao Laozu protects Di Yun from the sect's enemies and captures a girl named Shui Sheng, bringing her along with them as they flee from their pursuers.
They encounter a snow avalanche which causes them to be trapped a snowy valley. Xuedao Laozu and Di Yun kill three of their pursuers, including Shui Sheng's father. Xuedao Laozu becomes suspicious of Di Yun's identity. When Di Yun's real identity is revealed, Xuedao Laozu attempts to kill him, but fails and unexpectedly helps Di Yun complete his energy cycle. Di Yun kills him instead. The last surviving pursuer Hua Tiegan reveals his true colours after Xuedao Laozu's death and resorts to cannibalism in order to survive. As the three of them stay in the valley waiting for spring to arrive, Shui Sheng sees Di Yun's kind personality and falls in love with him. When they are finally able to escape from the valley and meet up with the other pugilists, Hua Tiegan accuses Di Yun and Shui Sheng of having done something immoral. Di Yun is forced to separate himself from Shui Sheng and continues on his lonely journey to vengeance.
Di Yun tracks down the perpetrators responsible for his wrongful imprisonment and learns that truth that his highly-respected teacher Qi Zhangfa is in fact a scheming and ruthless villain, just as Ding Dian had told him. His former lover Qi Fang is mercilessly killed by the Wans when they suspect her of infidelity. Later, all the villains in the novel appear together at the same time after finding clues to the location of the "Lian Cheng Swordplay" Manual. When they discover that the secret turns out to be treasure, they fight each other for possession of the treasure. Eventually, all of them are poisoned by the poison on the treasure and become insane.
After witnessing the various struggles for possession of the manual, Di Yun finally understands the dark nature and greed of Man. He returns with Qi Fang's orphaned daughter, Kong Xincai, to the snowy valley where he decides to settle down permanently and lead a life of reclusiveness forever. To his surprise, he meets Shui Sheng who is waiting for him there. Di Yun's goodness is finally rewarded with his reunion with his beloved Shui Sheng and a happy life for the rest of his days.